THE THIRD DEBATE
It’s a sad state of affairs when, after squandering an hour and a half on the debate, I feel like I would have been more edified by switching over to MeTV and watching the reruns of “Happy Days” and “Gilligan’s Island” on in that same time block.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have brought to fulfillment the pointlessness toward which the debates (that quadrennial “Gong Show”) have long been tending. What did we get for the 90 minutes we spent listening to mostly insults and evasions?
Well, we did hear a clear distinction between Trump’s pro-life stance and Clinton’s defense of abortion right up to delivery. But beyond that?
From Hillary we got talking points — her standard programmed blather about working families … strengthening the middle class … and how America is great because America is good — oh, and that poor Syrian child with blood running down his head.
From The Donald we got his signature stream-of-consciousness chatter about building the wall and deporting all illegal immigrants … negotiating better trade deals … and how it’s gonna be great, folks, so great.
Halfway through all their inane twaddle, I sensed the combined souls of my fellow Americans pleading like the denizens of “Gilligan’s Island”…
“Will we never get off this damned rock?”
Psychologists around the country are reporting diagnoses of a condition they call Election Stress Syndrome. People are anxious to the point of depression. They’re finding it difficult to sleep. Tempers are short. Even violence is flaring. Of course, some of the violence has been arranged and paid for by Hillary’s campaign organization (watch this highly revealing video), but that’s another story.
After three Presidential debates (and one for the Veep wannabes), our country is essentially having a huge dissociative episode.
No wonder. What have the candidates said about anything substantive? What have they offered in the way of fundamental principles?
It’s perhaps a sign of the times that two successful and seemingly intelligent people like Clinton and Trump are so obtuse about the basics of American political culture.
Lost in progressivist delusion, Hillary says that Supreme Court justices should represent the people and their needs. That is profoundly wrong. Congress represents the people, and then responds to needs as partisan wrangling allows.
Our Supreme Court justices should represent nothing but the Constitution.
The Donald apparently has a vague sense that the Constitution ought to be interpreted according to the intentions of the Founders. But does he understand why? There is a reason, you know, and it’s this…
If the words of the Constitution do not have fixed meanings, then we have no standard by which to measure whether a law is just — that is to say, whether it meets expectations of rightness and legitimacy within the framework of our governing system. What we get then is what we’ve been getting under the false notion of a “Living Constitution”: ever-expanding government, destruction of the separation of powers, and steady erosion of freedom (think Barack Obama’s countless executive orders).
It goes without saying that Clinton would reject this understanding of the Constitution.
Would Trump be able to explain it?
The only person who came out of last night’s catfight looking creditable was Fox News’ Chris Wallace. In the impossible position of debate moderator, Wallace exerted himself manfully trying to follow the prearranged schedule and topic list. He asked substantial questions of both candidates, and then pressed for something like relevant answers.
His attempts weren’t always successful. But they did lend heft to Fox’s slogan: “Fair and Balanced.”
I have come to think that there should be no Presidential or Vice Presidential debates. Granted, they provide an impression about how the candidates comport themselves in the presence of a person who loathes them. But we could learn as much by televising them together having tea or knocking back a couple of brewskis.
Or by getting them to mud wrestle.
In fact, I long for the days when it was considered unseemly for candidates to campaign at all. Both Clinton and Trump have surrogates who look more presentable and can explain their parties’ platforms more convincingly.
If we can’t eliminate campaigning altogether, I’d go for banning any mention of elections on TV. All campaign advertising should be in print. That would raise political rhetoric to at least a fifth-grade level.
Of course, I realize I’m dreaming. It’s just the way I deal with my own case of Election Stress Syndrome.
I’ve heard a lot about how The Donald won this round. Even NBC’s “Nightly News” suggested that — right before a smooth segue into Hillary sniffing self-righteously that Trump “insults women.”
And, oh yes — about that Trumpish nonsense when Chris Wallace asked if he would accept the election results?
Donald, Donald, Donald.
It would have been so easy for Trump to say…
“Of course, Chris, I’ll accept all fully verified election results.”
But not The Donald. He smirked and prattled on about how he would keep everybody “in suspense.”
Sure, he clarified his position in an Ohio speech the next morning.
Too late. NBC led with that “suspense” clip.
For my money, neither Clinton nor Trump won. And the debate changed nothing.
Clinton fans watched Hillary being Hillary. Trumpsters watched The Donald being The Donald. Everybody heard what they wanted to hear.
Barring war with Russia or some unexpected revelation that’s too shocking for the media to bury, the outcome of this election has already been determined. There are very few undecideds. We’ve just got to wait three more weeks to find out the results.
In the meantime, it’s up to all of us to persevere as we complete this…
“tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.”
Only three more weeks on “Gilligan’s Island.” Only three more weeks.
Lord, help us.
In my post on the last debate I noted Hillary’s “pasted-on grin” which “made her look nervous”…
“I suspect someone’s advising her that women politicians have to appear friendly.
“That’s bad advice. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir, the two most significant female political leaders of our age, didn’t smile constantly. Their expressions were appropriate to the circumstances at hand. They had what’s called gravitas, and they were taken most seriously.”
Other’s have zeroed in on that forced countenance, which the UK’s Daily Mail has headlined her “creepy grandma grin.” Check out the tweets cited, such as this one that’s especially perceptive …
“Clinton has that smile that your mom had when you were little and you were in public and she wanted to hit you but couldn’t.”
Congratulations are due to Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” for a vigorous defense of Trump’s unwillingness to let the Democrats to steal this election. Watch the video…